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DVD a Clear Channel to Music Fans

12 Jan, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

Media giant Clear Channel Entertainment (CEE) and Ventura have teamed up to tap into the growing music DVD genre.

Clear Channel Entertainment Television (CCETV), a division of CCE created just last year, has inked an output deal with Ventura to produce and release a minimum of six newly produced music programs per year over the next two years.

CCETV is already in negotiations with a list of artists for which the division will produce concerts, film them in high-definition video, and release them on DVD through Ventura, said Steve Sterling, SVP of CCETV.

Ventura was the right partner for a burgeoning DVD supplier, he said.

“They're a very, very strong independent-natured company,” Sterling said. “But the senior management they have now, with Eric Doctorow and Jim Weatherson is a very seasoned, studio-level management.”

The first release will arrive in May and feature an as-yet untitled “best of the 80s-type” project from music producer Trevor Horne (also a former member of The Buggles of “Video Killed the Radio Star” fame) shot in London with performances from Yes, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, the Pet Shop Boys and Grace Jones, Sterling said.

In the future, CCETV plans to take full advantage of its parent company's stronghold in the live performance arena by cross merchandising DVD offerings at retail with ticket sales, on video screens at concert venues, even putting discounts for events in the packaged product, Sterling said.

“[Clear Channel] sold 72 million tickets last year,” he said. “We plan to harness the natural resources of CCE to convert that to retail sales as well.”

The possibilities are endless, said Jim Weatherson, EVP/general manager for Ventura Distribution.

“The opportunity to be in business with a company like Clear Channel and the tremendous reach they have is a tremendous flag in the sand for Ventura,” he said.

“The appetite for music from the consumer standpoint has never been stronger, while the physical side has had its challenges,” he added.

More importantly, he said, this deal will also allow Ventura to enter an “underserved” market that will keep a strong physical retail presence for artists. Digital music dowloading has, on one hand, been a boon to emerging and established artists when it comes to exposure and consumer discovery, but music DVD can make the connection from fan to artist much stronger, he said.

“The impression level is not there with a download, no packaging, no art, ” Weatherson said. “DVDs have become the dominant configuration for a lot of retailers out there and this is something that takes advantage of that growth — keeps exposure to the artist in the physical world.”

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